Tag Archives: immigration reform

Why punish DACA recipients for their parents’ ‘sins’?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is in the news again. Indeed, it never seems to go away largely because some in Congress want to eliminate an executive order that President Obama signed in 2012.

For the life of my I keep asking: Why must we punish law-abiding U.S. residents for something their parents did when their children were too young to resist?

Obama signed the DACA order to protect those who came here as children when their parents entered the United States illegally. Many of those DACA recipients came here as infants or toddlers. Mom and Dad entered the United States in search of a better life. They just didn’t get into the country legally. They snuck in under the proverbial radar.

Over the years, many of those children grew into responsible adults in the only country they knew as young adults and older. They were educated in our schools, they attended college, they graduated with honors. They went to work. They have paid their taxes. They have lived as de facto U.S. citizens, except that they’re here illegally.

Barack Obama intended to protect them from immediate deportation, enabling them a path toward obtaining citizenship or at minimum permanent resident status.

Then Obama left office. In comes Donald Trump, vowing to eliminate the DACA order. He did so. He ordered the immediate deportation of these individuals. Why? Because in the strictest definition of the word, they are “lawbreakers.”

I admit — albeit grudgingly — that Trump is right. Technically, that is. The more humane approach would be to extend DACA benefits for those who came only because of something their parents did.

A federal court panel has just ruled that Trump’s order rescinding the DACA order was “arbitrary and capricious.” The president is sure to fight it.

I just am baffled that the administration continues to insist on punishing U.S. residents only because they happened to be born to individuals who sought to skirt U.S. immigration law in search of a better life for their families.

I’ll divulge a little secret about Donald Trump’s Cabinet. It happens to include a gentleman — Energy Secretary (and former Texas Gov.) Rick Perry — who once touted the notion of allowing DACA recipients to pay in-state college tuition prices, the same as any resident of Texas. So, you see, Trump hasn’t surrounded himself totally with heartless ideologues.

If only he would listen to others in his administration who share Rick Perry’s view that DACA does more good than harm for the United States of America.

Immigrants are a ‘blessing and a strength’

George W. Bush hasn’t lost his voice in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

The former president of the United States spoke today at an event at his presidential library and museum in Dallas about the value that immigrants bring to American life and the texture they add to our diverse American culture.

The current president of the United States, Donald Trump, has been a good bit less welcoming in his rhetoric about illegal and even legal immigrants. He wants to raise the bar to establish a form of merit-based immigration and, of course, has implied that the majority of illegal immigrants are pouring into the country to commit all manner of violent crimes.

That’s not how President Bush is wired.

“I hope those responsible in Washington can dial down the rhetoric, put politics aside and modernize our immigration laws soon,” the former president said in Dallas.

He speaks as someone with experience governing a border state, which he did from 1995 to 2000 in Texas. President Bush understands the value that immigrants bring to the United States and has sought since his time as Texas governor to push for comprehensive immigration reform.

If only the current White House resident would listen.

Immigration reform? Remember that matter?

The nation is getting all tangled up in this discussion over whether to build Trump’s Wall along our southern border.

Democrats and a growing number of Republicans don’t want it; Donald Trump’s followers — led by the cadre of talk-radio blowhards — are all for it.

What I am not hearing — maybe I’m not paying enough attention — is any serious discussion about how we might actually apply a permanent repair to the problem of illegal immigration.

How about turning our attention to serious immigration reform legislation?

We keep making feeble attempts at it. We get sidetracked and discouraged because too many members of Congress are resisting those calls for reform.

Then we hear about data that tell us that a huge percentage of those who are in the United States illegally are those whose work visas have expired. So, they arrive here legally but become illegal residents because those visas have run out. These one-time legal residence then are called “criminals” and “lawbreakers.” The become fodder for the president and his supporters to erect that wall along our southern border.

Can’t there be a concerted push to hire more administrative personnel for the Immigration and Naturalization Service to process these visas or to speed up citizenship requests from those who want to become Americans?

The president did offer a form of compromise during that partial government shutdown by suggesting a three-year reprieve from deportation for so-called Dreamers, those who were brought here as children when their parents sneaked in illegally. That’s a start. However, Donald Trump connected that idea with more money to build his wall, which made it a non-starter for those who oppose The Trump Wall.

So now the president has declared a “national emergency.” There is no such thing on our border with Mexico. The only “emergency,” it seems to me, rests with the interminable delays that occur when foreign-born residents’ work visas run out or when they seek citizenship to the Land of Opportunity.

How about getting busy applying a permanent repair to the problem?

It ain’t the ‘Democrat Party,’ young man

I now want to pick a few nits with one of the right-wing wackos who works for Donald John Trump.

Stephen Miller, a senior policy guru for the president, says the administration will do “whatever is necessary” to build a wall along our southern border.

Oh, but then he relies on that goofy perversion of the identity of the opposing political party.

“The Democrat Party has a simple choice,” Miller said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “They either can choose to fight for America’s working class or to promote illegal immigration.”

Democrat Party? That’s what he calls the Democratic Party.

Hey, I get that it’s a minor point, but then again it really is more of a major point than the Rs would care to acknowledge. The hard-liners’ insistence on using the perverted ID of the Democratic Party is intended to demonize a great political organization. One does not hear such a thing coming from Democrats who might be inclined to refer to members of the “Republic Party.” That, too, would disparage — if not denigrate — the other great major political organization.

As for Miller’s assertion that Democrats might want to “promote illegal immigration,” that is another branch broken off from the demagogue’s tree. No patriotic American wants to “promote” illegal immigration. We all want border security. Many of us just don’t want to build a wall to seal us off from our neighbors.

Those Republican demagogues, though, are intent on demonizing the opposing party (a) by perverting the party’s name and (b) by suggesting they want to “promote” the commission of crimes.

Get serious, young man.

Yes, we damn sure are a ‘nation of immigrants’

The quote under the picture is attributed to the fellow in the picture, right-wing lawyer and radio talk show host Mark Levin, who is engaging in some of the worst hyperbole I have seen in this debate over immigration, illegal immigration and immigration reform.

For starters, we damn sure are a nation of immigrants. I don’t know the first thing about Levin’s background, but given that he appears to be an white guy, my strong hunch is that his familial forebears came from somewhere other than the backwoods of wherever he was born.

Europe, maybe? Yeah, probably?

I am the proud grandson of immigrants to came to this country in the early 20th century. I have a deep pride in my Greek heritage. I make no apologies for it.

And yet . . .  I consider myself to be an American patriot. I have gone to war for my country. So, to suggest that to be an American citizen is somehow mutually exclusive from living in a nation of immigrants is the most disgusting demagoguery imaginable.

One more point. I do not believe anyone is treating those who “cross the border illegally as the most virtuous human being on the face of the earth.”

Again, hyperbole in the extreme.

But as it is with these radio talkers, their “fan(atic)s” take their word as some sort of gospel. They glom onto their message, pass it on, giving them a life of their own.

I’ll concede that I do not listen to Mark Levin; I don’t listen to talk radio of any political stripe. It’s just that when these messages show up on social media platforms and get otherwise good folks all riled up, I am compelled to speak my own mind.

Levin is entitled to his opinion. Just remember: Opinions are like a certain body orifice . . . everybody has one.

Where did this ‘open borders’ nonsense originate?

I have taken a look at Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke’s campaign website. I looked high and low for anything in there that suggests that O’Rourke favors “open borders.” I cannot find it.

Which makes me wonder: Where is this nonsense coming from, other than from the pie holes of demagogues intent on distorting the young man’s record.

https://betofortexas.com/issue/immigration/

You can look for yourself on the link attached directly above this sentence.

Sen. Ted Cruz, O’Rourke’s Republican opponent, accuses O’Rourke of favoring “open borders,” suggesting that he wants to let anyone walk into this country without any kind of documentation. I don’t see anything approaching that kind of policy on Beto’s policy profile.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, another Texas GOP demagogue, accuses Democrats of “favoring open borders.”

Oh, and then we have the Republicans’ Demagogue in Chief, Donald John Trump, saying the same thing on campaign stumps across the country as he seeks to bolster the campaigns of GOP candidates.

O’Rourke and other Democrats keep talking about “reforming immigration policy.” They want a policy that doesn’t result in erecting a wall along our southern border. They want to allow the so-called “Dreamers” — immigrants who were brought here illegally as children by their parents — to remain in the United States, the only country they know; they want to grant the Dreamers a “fast track” to obtaining U.S. citizenship. O’Rourke wants to “modernize the visa system” to enable employers to fill jobs that Americans won’t do.

This is reasonable stuff, man. It doesn’t call for an opening up of our borders. It doesn’t suggest that we allow anyone — including known criminals — free and unfettered access to the United States of America.

This kind of perversion of stated public policy is nothing new. It’s been going on since The Flood. However, I still detest its effectiveness when pitched to a gullible audience.

Listen to this grieving father

Rob Tibbetts’s broken heart has not rendered him silent.

His daughter’s death at the hands of a man suspected of being in this country illegally has been cause for politicians to use Mollie Tibbetts’s memory as a political football.

Her dad is having none of it.

Rob Tibbetts wrote in an emotional op-ed in the Des Moines Register: The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people. To suggest otherwise is a lie. Justice in my America is blind. This person will receive a fair trial, as it should be. If convicted, he will face the consequences society has set. Beyond that, he deserves no more attention.

Mollie Tibbetts disappeared several weeks ago while jogging along a rural Iowa road. Her body was discovered just recently and a man stands accused of her murder. The suspect reportedly is here as an undocumented immigrant. Yet politicians, including the president of the United States, have jumped all over this tragic case as a reason to round up every illegal immigrant in this country and deport them to the country of their birth.

It’s a maximum overreaction to a human tragedy.

Rob Tibbetts does not want his daughter’s death to be used in this manner, as he stated in his essay. You can read it here.

I want to offer one more sample of Rob Tibbetts’s poignant message:

My stepdaughter, whom Mollie loved so dearly, is Latina. Her sons — Mollie’s cherished nephews and my grandchildren — are Latino. That means I am Hispanic. I am African. I am Asian. I am European. My blood runs from every corner of the Earth because I am American. As an American, I have one tenet: to respect every citizen of the world and actively engage in the ongoing pursuit to form a more perfect union.

Given that, to knowingly foment discord among races is a disgrace to our flag. It incites fear in innocent communities and lends legitimacy to the darkest, most hate-filled corners of the American soul. It is the opposite of leadership. It is the opposite of humanity. It is heartless. It is despicable. It is shameful.

Open borders? How does the EU survive with them?

A social media friend of mine made an interesting point about an editorial that appeared in today’s Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News; thus, I won’t take credit for this observation, but merely want to flesh it out just a bit.

He said the editorial, which commented on the heated national discussion about separating children from their parents who seek illegal entry into the United States, brought up the “open border” canard that conservatives often cite when seeking stricter immigration policies.

My friend writes, in part: Open borders are in use in several countries of the EU, where citizens of one country can freely enter another country.

We don’t have an “open border” with Mexico or Canada these days; 9/11 ended that policy.

But as my friend noted, the European Union does have open borders between several of its member nations.

In September 2016, my wife and I traveled to Germany. We spent several days in Nuremberg visiting friends. We had planned to take the train to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, to visit more friends.

We purchased our train tickets in Nuremberg, boarded the train and rode for six hours to Amsterdam. We crossed from one EU country into another. We got off the train, met our friend, who then took his to his home, where we spent a few days visiting him and his wife and small daughter.

When our trip to The Netherlands ended, we went back to the train station in Amsterdam, boarded the train and went back to Nuremberg. Our return trip had a slightly different wrinkle: We changed trains in Hannover, Germany to connect to Nuremberg.

At no point did anyone in authority — German or Dutch — ask for our passports; no one asked us a single question about why we were traveling aboard the train; no one inquired about our nationality.

Do we want that kind of openness between the United States and the two nations that border us north and south? No. But this hysteria we’re hearing about “open borders” — particularly where it concerns our southern boundary — should remind us that our borders are not nearly as open as they are in much of Europe.

Which is it: shutdown or deal on budget?

On one day, the president of the United States declared there would be a government shutdown if Congress didn’t come to a decision on an immigration package that secured our borders.

That is that. No deal, no government. “I would love a shutdown” if there’s no deal to build a wall. “Without borders, we don’t have a country,” Donald Trump declared.

The next day, U.S. Senate Democratic and Republican leaders cobbled together a budget deal that funds the government for two years. It’s a bipartisan agreement. Oh, and it doesn’t have any money for the wall the president wants to build across our southern border.

No worries, said the president. He’ll sign it if it gets to his desk.

So, which is it? Does the president want the wall or does he want to fund the government and avoid a shutdown that could occur later this week?

Honestly, I prefer the second version of the president’s current view. I believe he should sign the bill if it clears the House of Representatives, which at the moment is going through a revolt among members of its most conservative members. They hate the bill because it spends too much money and, yes, doesn’t include money for the wall or other border security measures.

They call themselves “fiscal hawks.” They say the Republican Party no longer can claim to be the party of “fiscal responsibility.”

Here’s what I hope happens. The House agrees on the Senate bill, they send it to the White House, the president signs it and then all sides — Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the president — get to work immediately on resolving the issue of immigration.

A viable government needs to proceed without the imminent threat of shutting down.

I am one taxpaying American citizen who is damn tired of this Band-Aid policy of running the government.

Can we just agree to keep the entire federal government functioning and serving all Americans while our representatives do what they were elected to do?

It is called “governing.”

Rep. Pelosi sets a blab record

This record needs to stand for a long time.

U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California believes strongly in immigration reform. She believes so strongly in it that she is able to talk for a verrrry long time about why Congress needs to enact it.

Pelosi put her commitment to the test today. She took the floor of the House and spoke — non-stop, without a break — for eight hours. She argued passionately on behalf of “Dreamers,” those undocumented immigrants who were granted a reprieve under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established near the end of the Obama administration.

That’s a filibuster-length harangue, only they cannot call it that in the House; only the Senate allows filibusters, which enables senators to talk about whatever the heck they want for as long as they want.

Here, though, might be the most remarkable element of the Pelosi gabfest.

The former House speaker happens to be 77 years of age. Do not accuse me of being sexist by mentioning Pelosi’s age; I would say the very same thing about a comparably aged male member of Congress if he were able to talk as long as Pelosi has done.

Pelosi’s astonishing display of endurance is likely to remain on the books for a long time.

Nice going, Mme. Minority Leader.